Mosquito activity in 2019 was one for the books. Look for more of the same in 2020.
“The wettest year on record” is becoming something of a broken record for U.S. markets in the heart of the downpour, and it’s how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) described the nation as a whole for the year ending June 30, 2019. The national average of roughly 38 inches of precipitation was almost 8 inches above average during those 12 months, six of which spilled into the second-hottest year in history.
You know where we’re going with this: Wet + Warm = Mosquito Paradise.
Not that this is a news flash for you. If you’re like the majority of pest control companies, your business has adapted to answer the call for mosquito management with unprecedented vigor. Nearly three-quarters — 73 percent — of those who responded to the 2020 PCT State of the Mosquito Market survey reported treating mosquitoes. It’s become a steady, lucrative source of business that gives you one more opportunity to serve your customers.
Market Demand Is Stronger; Seasons Are Longer
“We’re in our fourth season of offering mosquito management, and demand continues to grow,” says Dave Bonett of Capitol Exterminating System in Old Bridge, N.J. “Mosquito pressure is part of it, but customer behaviors and attitudes are driving up demand, too. More people are choosing staycations, and so they want us to treat their backyards, pools and tennis courts, plus about four in 10 are worried about the transmission of pathogens. They hear stories of West Nile virus and Zika on social media, and it spurs them to be more cautious.”
Bonett saw mosquito revenues rise about 25 percent in 2019, and he projected another 20-percent hike in 2020 before the COVID-19 crisis put all projections on hold. Other companies’ mosquito revenues are growing as well. Our 2020 survey reflects that 63 percent of PMPs saw mosquito revenues increase in 2019 (compared to 65 percent the previous year), and that 62 percent expect to see continuing growth in 2020.
“Everyone in the industry I talk to has been seeing constant upward momentum,” shares Mike Russell of LifeSpace Pest Solutions in Hyannis, Mass., whose two-year-old business earns about half its revenues from mosquito and tick work. “The surge that began five years ago seems to get stronger every year.”
In fact, mosquitoes aren’t only growing in number; they’re also extending their active season. Ron Veitch of Anti Pest & Veitch in Shreveport, La., says that nothing surprises him anymore in terms of timing. “We’ve always expected a lot of mosquito pressure in the summer here, where our temperatures rise into the hundreds and humidity can be 105 percent, but November through February have traditionally been low-activity months. That doesn’t necessarily hold true today. When it can be 80 degrees at Christmastime, anything is possible.”
That’s true in Georgia as well, where Toby Crowe of Compass Pest Management reported mosquitoes already out in full force in early to mid-March. “We’ve had tons of rain the past few months,” he said, “so our business is up, revenues are up, and we still have months to go.”